Thursday, October 8, 2009

Google Calendar to Twitter – How to get the most out of your Google Calendar

When I created our new school website over the summer one of the goals I had was to communicate with our audience in as many ways as possible. We now have news articles on the home page and we have an embedded Google Calendar. I also set up a page for the daily bulletin in written and video form as well as an RSS feed from two of our school Twitter accounts (LGHSCalendar & LGHSCafe) on the bulletin page, one to tell you coming events and the other to tell you the cafeteria menu for the day.
Communication in many forms was the primary goal, however a secondary goal was ease of maintenance. I did not want to personally tweet the cafeteria menu daily or the daily events. Automation was the key, but how? I decided the easiest solution was to find a way to send our daily reminders from our Google Calendar of school events and cafeteria schedule to Twitter. How to do this was the problem. I tried SMS-to-SMS and even RSS-to-SMS but could not get the accounts to talk to one another. The answer was With this free service I was able to have Google Calendar send out an email reminder of an event to TwitterMail, TwitterMail in return would then post that reminder as a Tweet on our Twitter accounts. The only thing I need to do is keep the calendar up to date. As an added bonus Twitter has an RSS feed for an account profile, meaning that I can use that feed with an RSS reader gadget to post it dynamically on our website.
Again, communication was my goal and I was able to accomplish a big portion with a couple of calendars that were created already. Using these existing calendars we now are able to communicate in many ways with our audience.
Several people have asked me how I was able to set this up. I decided to create a screen capture of the process to help them out.

This is the step-by-step version with instructions.

This is a quick animoto version.